I love holidays. And because I love them so much, I want to get the most out of them as I possibly can. Which is to say, yes, I did start taking out my Halloween decorations once September rolled around. I have a passion for all things dark and spooky, so it’s totally one of my favorite times of the year.
This year I kicked the Halloween season (or, as some would call it, fall) off right with something I’ve never done before: a ghost tour!
It is actually pretty surprising I’ve never been on a ghost tour before; though I’m personally a skeptic, two of my favorite things are ghost stories and history. The Gothic Milwaukee tour combines them beautifully! Billed on the website as “Spook-tacular,” this approximately 90-minute tour starts at the corner of Cathedral Square Park and loops down to Wisconsin Avenue, back up the RiverWalk, and then finishes at the same corner of the park. It was raining on the night that we took the tour; sure, it wasn’t the weather I would have ordered up for a walking tour, but it wasn’t too bad. I think it contributed to the spooky atmosphere. Tragically, due to the rain and the general poor performance of my phone camera in the dark, I didn’t get any photos during the tour.
The tour guide, Anna, is a great storyteller. Like I said before, I’m not really a believer, but I definitely got a chill up my spine that wasn’t from the rain listening to her stories. She has a great sense of humor too, and snarky asides help keep the tour from feeling too heavy (what with all the death and all). We’re also kindred spirits in our fondness for maritime disasters; her tale of a tragic shipwreck (I won’t spoil which one) was my favorite story of the night. I loved all the non-ghost related historical facts that we learned throughout the tour, and all the beautiful buildings – Milwaukee’s variety of historic architecture is one of my very favorite things about the city, so it was great to have a reason to look a little closer at some of the buildings I walk by every day.
Speaking of walking, make sure to wear your walking shoes for this tour. The route is about a mile long and pretty smooth, but you will be standing while you’re listening to the stories. I, cleverly, walked to the tour from work…so that was, round trip, an additional mile on top of the tour, and my feet were pretty tired afterwards.
I had a lot of fun on this tour, and I’m definitely planning to take the “Ghosts of Yankee Hill” tour as well…as you might expect, there’s a number of tours scheduled during this, the spookiest time of the year. Try it out…and let me know if you see any spirits!